On a cool Sunday night at the Ole Miss Soccer Stadium, the Rebels found themselves in yet another dogfight, this time against No. 10 South Carolina. The Gamecocks came in riding a 10-game winning streak, having not lost since late August, but Ole Miss kept South Carolina far from the net–and from another conference win.
At the two-minute mark of the second half, the game was getting tighter and tighter by the second, and the Rebels were looking to maintain momentum in front of the raucous student body who was yelling and cheering from the start.
A late goal by Addie Forbus, who has nine goals on the season, sealed Ole Miss’ (10-3-2, 4-3 SEC) 2-0 shutout victory over USC for its first win on the season over a top-ranked opponent under head coach Matt Mott and ended the Gamecocks’ hot streak. Forbus’ late goal was a follow-through off her own rebounded shot attempt, which was blocked by Caroline Kelly, who recorded just one save.
USC suffered its first shut out on the season and its first loss since August 28 at Clemson (2-1).
“That was a relentless effort tonight and that is what this Ole Miss team is all about,” said Forbus, who was one of five Rebel players to play the full 90 minutes. “We showed our fight from the very first minute to the very last minute.”
Finding a way to stay competitive against ranked opponents is nothing new for Mott’s Rebels. They have done this all season long against quality teams, such as UCF and Kentucky. Despite those losses, the team has remained positive and continued to work hard.
So it came as no surprise to those who follow the Rebels that they were fighting hard against the Gamecocks (10-2-1, 5-1-1), who lead the SEC with 16 points and have a four-point advantage over Auburn and Texas A&M. The Tigers and Aggies are tied for second.
The Rebels struck first on the scoreboard, with a goal by Georgia Russell from 15 yards out, deflecting off of USC’s sophomore goal keeper Abbey Crider. Ole Miss kept its 1-0 lead heading into the halftime locker room and kept the Gamecocks on their heels all night long.
“To score early was huge for us,” Mott said. “And the way we defended, we really didn’t give them any dangerous chances. It’s really a testament to how hard our guys defended and wanted to win.”
The Rebels held the advantage in three categories: shot attempts (9-6), saves (4-3) and corner kicks (5-3), and Mott made it clear to his team that a positive start against USC was a must if Ole Miss stood a chance.
In the end, Mott was thankful for the home crowd’s noise making throughout the night. “When the game started, the guys are going all crazy with the drums. That was the extra energy we needed,” he continued. “I said in the locker room: ‘This feels different tonight. Something feels different about tonight.’ And what felt different was that we were ready to take on this team and we were prepared to be able to get a result.”
(Feature image credit: Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)